Three Heels on Outland Watch List

The 2012 Outland Trophy Watch List, which goes to the best lineman in college football, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America, was released Thursday. North Carolina offensive guard Jonathan Cooper, offensive tackle James Hurst and defensive tackle Sylvester Williams made the list.

Williams, a senior from Jefferson City, Mo., finished 2011 with 54 tackles, 7.0 tackles for losses, 2.5 sacks, five quarterback hurries, three pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in his first year at the Division I level.

Hurst and Cooper, who man the left side of the Tar Heels' offensive line, were both second team All-ACC selections in 2011. They led the team in knockdown blocks and consistently graded out as the team's top linemen.

A senior from Wilmington, N.C., Cooper has started 35 career games, primarily at left guard. He saw action on 864 plays and graded out at 86 percent a year ago.

A junior from Plainfield, Ind., Hurst started 25 of 26 career games at left tackle. Last year, he participated in 851 plays and graded out at 88 percent for the season, the best mark on the team.

The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are part of the FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects the 25-man team and eventually the three Outland finalists to be named on Nov. 19. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner.

The Outland Trophy, presented annually since 1946, is the third oldest award in major college football. The winner of the 67th Outland Trophy, named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn and Kansas at the turn of the century, will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 6 on ESPN.

LINK: 2012 Outland Trophy Watch List

UNC Athletic Communications contributed to this report.

Inside Carolina Top Stories